It’s Father’s Day, a time to buy your dear old dad a wacky tie he’ll never wear and take him out for a reasonably priced breakfast or a round of golf. If your dad is more of the geek variety, though, perhaps he’d prefer to celebrate his special day with a special comic.
Dads are some of our biggest and earliest superheroes (along with our moms), setting the tone for the kinds of people we will be when we grow up and become parents ourselves. But fatherhood, like heroics, is hard. It’s full of trials and tribulations as you fight to keep your kids happy, healthy, and at the very least just this side of homicidal.
No one knows about these challenges quite like the heroes of our favorite comics, so maybe they have some advice to offer. Whether you’re offering them up as gifts this Father’s Day or grabbing one for yourself, here are some of our favorite comic book dads, and a few recommendations of where to find them.
Batman/Superman (Super Sons)
If you’ve ever wondered what’s it’s like to have one of DC’s biggest heroes for a dad, then the recently wrapped series Super Sons is definitely what you’re looking for. While, technically, this series is about Jonathan Kent and Damian Wayne, the young sons of Clark and Bruce, their super fathers make frequent appearances. It’s a wonderful way to get a look at the parenting styles of both men, and the very different challenges of raising two wildly different boys.
Rick Grimes (The Walking Dead)
Raising a child in the regular world is hard enough, so of course, we need to throw some zombies into the mix just to add that extra hurdle. Rick Grimes, however, handles it like a pro. While you might be most familiar with Rick and his son Carl from the AMC series of the same name, the comics offer a very different take on both the overall story and the relationship between the father and son. And that relationship, as fans will tell you, is essential to this incredibly popular and long-running series.
If The Walking Dead seems a little too cheery for you, how about trying on Deadpool’s struggles for size? His daughter, Warda, who has become the Deadpool of 2099, is not so happy with her old man. In fact, not only does she hate him, but she’s apparently locked him up in her lair and forced him to watch CSPAN for years. Talk about torture. Warda was introduced in a four-issue series spanning Deadpool #6, 12, 19, and 25, which follows her fight against a vigilante in the streets of New York aided by her giant dragon friend. Over the course of the issues, she and her father discover they have a lot of issues to work out, and since this is Deadpool, you know it’s gonna be bloody.
Charlie Rook (Wytches)
While Deadpool might have his troubles with his, there’s one father-daughter relationship as strong as anything. That is the one between Charlie Rook and his daughter Sailor in Scott Snyder’s 2014 horror entry, Wytches. The series tells the eerie story of the Rook family, who move to a small town in New Hampshire after troubling rumors about their daughter begin to circulate. But their new home is also the residence for a supernatural cult who want Sailor for their own, and it’s up to Charlie to figure out how to keep his daughter safe.
Luke Cage (Alias, New Avengers)
Most of us know Luke Cage as the badass hero from Marvel’s Netflix universe, but the man with bulletproof skin is also an absolutely adorable dad when his wife, Jessica Jones, gives birth to their daughter Danielle (named for his comic book bestie, Danny Rand). If you’re looking for a big read, then dive right into the long-running New Avengers series, which follows Cage and friends as they reassemble the Avengers following the death of Captain America in Civil War. Danielle is born during the series, and subsequent volumes see him fighting to protect his wife and baby daughter.
Jack Joseph (The Underwater Welder)
There are a lot of dangerous jobs out there, but underwater welding is a very unique one. In addition to his occupation repairing oil rigs deep beneath the sea, Jack Joseph is also about to become a father. His gig, though dangerous, has usually gone off without issue, but in this critically acclaimed story from Jeff Lemire, all that changes when Jack encounters a supernatural force at the bottom of the ocean. The reality-bending tale forces Jack to relive his father’s death, grapple with his own mortality, and struggle with the kind of father he wants to be.
Jim Gordon (Gotham Central)
OK, technically, you can find a better representation of Jim Gordon’s fatherly appearances in the pages of virtually any Batgirl comic (especially the Batgirl: Wanted story arc) there’s just something about Gotham Central that screams “Dad.” After all, isn’t Commissioner Gordon really just Gotham City’s dad? This famous series follows the inner workings of the Gotham City Police Department letting you in on what it’s like to protect the most dangerous city in the DC Universe, and Jim Gordon is right at the center. It’s an excellent book, especially if your dad is a fan of hard-boiled detective stories with a superhero flair.